Papers And Originals

Acute Intermittent Porphyria: Response of Tachycardia and Hypertension to Propranolol

Br Med J 1973; 3 doi: (Published 04 August 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;3:257
  1. A. D. Beattie,
  2. M. R. Moore,
  3. A. Goldberg,
  4. R. L. Ward


    In four young adult patients with acute attacks of acute intermittent porphyria tachycardia and hypertension were prominent features of the illness. Urinary catecholamine excretion was increased in both patients in whom it was measured. The effect of the beta-adrenergic blocking drug propranolol was assessed in each case. The dose varied from 40 to 240 mg daily. A response in the form of a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure was noted in each case, and in one case a marked alleviation of abdominal pain followed administration of the drug.

    Propranolol, when given in high dosage to rats, did not induce an increase in hepatic delta-aminolaevulic acid synthetase, an enzyme which is raised in human and drug-induced animal porphyria. The use of propranolol is therefore unlikely to aggravate or precipitate an attack of acute intermittent porphyria.